Court Year in review- Leadership Tribunals

2016 has been a quiet year for Members of Parliament appearing before the Leadership Tribunal hearing with only one leader appearing before the Tribunal.

Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah was the only elected leader who went before an appointed tribunal, chaired by Justice Goodwin Poole (now retired), Senior Magistrate Mark Selefkariu and Ernest Wilmot.

This matter has since been stayed after he succeeded in convincing the National Court to permanently restrain appointed members of the Tribunal from further reconvening.

Namah first appeared before the Tribunal on Oct 23, 2015 to answer to 10 allegations of misconduct in office.

After numerous applications to stay the tribunal, the National Court on Sept 2 this year, granted Namah’s application and permanently restrained the appointed tribunal members from reconvening to enquire into the 10 allegations.      

This was because the National Court was of the view that the conduct of the tribunal members gave rise to apprehension of bias.

 The court however said the restraining order does not protect Namah from going before another appointed tribunal members as it was now up to the Public Prosecutor to decide whether he wishes to continue with the matter by writing to the Chief Justice to appoint another tribunal.

Among the allegations of misconduct in office leveled against Namah is the incident in 2011 during the Political impasse when the leader stormed into the Supreme and National Court building at Waiagni ordering the arrest of the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia.

This was done while the leader was accompanied by personnel from the Police and PNG Defense Force where they assaulted staff from the National Judiciary service and caused damaged to properties there.

Another Leadership Tribunal related matter is that of North MP Fly Boka Kondra.

With Kondra’s case, the Supreme Court upheld the recommendation of the Leadership Tribunal for Kondra’s dismissal from office.

On Nov 30, a three man Supreme Court bench handed down its unanimous decision to dismiss Kondra’s appeal because it found that the trial judge in the National Court as well as the Leadership Tribunal members made no errors in reaching its respective decisions.

Justices Nicholas Kirriwom, Don Sawong and Frazer Pitpit in a unanimous decision agreed with the penalty recommended by the tribunal to have Kondra dismissed from office.

The full court also discharged a stay order issued by the Supreme Court on May 21 this year against the decision of the National Court to throw out Kondra’s judicial review. The stay was granted after the Supreme Court allowed this appeal to be heard.

Recommendations by the Leadership Tribunal of May 29, 2015 to have the member for North Fly Boka Kondra dismissed from office will now go to the Speaker of Parliament for consideration.


Sally Pokiton